An ambassador for Ohio’s Historic Family Farms program this week encouraged family farmers to research their farm’s history and discover whether they are eligible for state recognition.
John Levo told Hillsboro Rotarians that he and his wife, Kathy, who was also in attendance,, work at the grassroots level to let area farm families know about the program and to help qualified farms become recognized. According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture website, there are currently 25 Highland County farms recognized as historic family farms. The oldest farm on the list is the Surber Family Farm, established in 1802.
Levo, a former local banker, Hillsboro City Council member and Highland County Chamber of Commerce president, offered a slide presentation of a history of Highland County and its changing borders through the years. He said the county has more than 1,400 farms with an average of 278 acres.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture developed the historic family farm program to honor families for their legacy in Ohio, said Levo. The program has three designations – Century Farms (100-149 years), Sesquicentennial Farms (150-199 years), and Bicentennial Farms (200 years and older).
Qualified farm families receive an heirloom certificate signed by the governor and the director of the ag department, according to program information. A plaque can also be obtained to place at a designated farm.
Levo praised Chad McConnaughey, the county recorder, for his “magnificent job” in helping families research the lineage of their farms. Levo’s presentation showed photos of historic Highland County farms. More information can be found at www.agri.ohio.gov, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Levo also touted the upcoming 3rd Annual Highland County Farm Tour, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Sept. 17. The event is hosted by the Highland County Farm Bureau and the Highland Soil and Water Conservation District.
The tour will include Carr Farms on Taylorsville Road, the Montgomery farm on South Sanders Road, the Nave farm, also on South Sanders Road, and the Carraher Ag Farms on Stringtown Road.
Pre-registration is required by calling 937-393-1922, ext. 3, by Sept. 12. More information can be found at www.highlandswcd.com.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.